Mike Becky

Tag Archive for ‘Jason Chen’

Court Examines Jason Chen’s Computers ➝

Greg Sandoval and Declan McCullaugh reporting for CNET:

Stephen Wagstaffe, chief deputy district attorney for San Mateo County, told CNET on Wednesday that a court there had appointed a “special master” to search the items seized from the home of Jason Chen in late April. The court has asked the special master to collect only information that pertains to Gizmodo’s dealings with an iPhone prototype that the blog purchased for $5,000.

I Thought I Said ‘Final Thoughts on Gizmodo’

I have already claimed to have published my “final thoughts on Gizmodo” but as it turns out, I have little bit more to say. When I wrote that piece I suspected that the story was over, Apple had been given their iPhone back and I didn’t expect them or the district attorney to do anything about it. Of course this was silly of me, especially since I know next to nothing about lawsuits and police investigations.

Gizmodo reports that last Friday night, California’s Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team entered Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s home and seized four computers, two servers, and a few external hard drives. Gizmodo has chosen to publish the search warrant documentation with Jason Chen’s personal details pixelated. Gizmodo doesn’t seem to have any problem publishing the Apple employee’s details, but when it comes to their own they’ve decided to pixelate them. I guess I don’t understand that at all.

The folks at Gizmodo are arguing that journalist shield laws protect them from search and seizure. However, Henry Blodget argues that shield laws are beside the point.

From Henry Blodget’s recent piece on Business Insider:

The search warrant is ambiguous about the specific reason the police gave for the search and seizure.  Specifically, it’s possible–likely, even–that the police believe Gawker Media committed the felony by acquiring the iPhone (“buying stolen property”).

If that’s the “probable cause” the police used to obtain the warrant, the journalist shield law may not apply.

Shield laws are put into place to protect sources who may have committed crimes, it doesn’t protect journalists who have committed crimes. Especially ones who have openly admitted to purchasing something that, under California law, is stolen property (which in this case happens to be a felony).

The question is whether Jason Chen or the finder of the iPhone is the target of this investigation. If it is the finder of the iPhone than Gizmodo could argue that the search warrant is invalid and they instead should have issued a subpoena to try and obtain information from Jason Chen. But, if Jason Chen and Gizmodo or Gawker Media are (and I suspect they are) the target of this investigation than shield laws are irrelevant.

But, Gizmodo’s argument hasn’t seemed to hold up the investigation for too long. CNET is reporting that the investigation is “poised to expand.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the editors at Engadget will be the target of a subpoena in an attempt to gather information about the finder of the iPhone. Engadget was offered the unit. However, after consulting their lawyers they decided against purchasing it.

It’s clear that Gizmodo got themselves into a sticky situation and I have little faith that they’ll manage to come out of this unscathed.

Gizmodo Explains How Apple Lost the iPhone

In an amazing display of scumbaggery, Gizmodo has decided to publicly shame the Apple employee who lost the iPhone prototype. I’ve decided not to link to their piece and not to mention the employee’s name because I think their actions are simply appalling.

There was no mention in Gizmodo’s report of who found the device or how the folks at Gizmodo got a hold of it. Their story goes from “He reached for a phone and called a lot of Apple numbers and tried to find someone who was at least willing to transfer his call to the right person, but no luck” to “weeks later, Gizmodo got it” without much actual information in between. However, the New York Times has confirmed that the person who found the device sold it to Nick Denton, chief executive of Gawker Media, which owns Gizmodo, for $5,000.

The piece ends with what seems like their justification for running it, Jesus Diaz stating that Apple shouldn’t fire the employee.

He sounded tired and broken. But at least he’s alive and apparently may still be working at Apple—as he should be. After all, it’s just a fucking iPhone and mistakes can happen to everyone

Sure, it’s just an iPhone that Gizmodo paid $5,000 to get their hands on. It’s just an iPhone that Jason Chen and Jesus Diaz were willing to risk journalistic integrity to write about in detail. It’s just an iPhone that is currently considered to be stolen goods under California law.

Whether it’s just an iPhone or not, you’ve decided to publicly humiliate a man who made a mistake, possible costing him his career. It doesn’t matter if you thought you were doing the right thing — you weren’t. Sure, you may have had one of the biggest days in the history of Gizmodo (in terms of pageviews) but you’ve lost what little respect for you that remained from some incredibly influential people (like Macro Arment, Craig Hockenberry, and John Gruber to name a few).

What really got my goat was Nick Denton’s tweet in which he wrote:

A few clueless geeks believe “real journalists” wait for Steve Jobs or his publicists to make an announcement. Screw that.

That may be the case, but “real journalists” also believe that one shouldn’t acquire stolen property for pageviews.

But hey, it’s just a fucking iPhone.